The Mediterranean Diet: Plant Foods and Whole Grains
The Mediterranean Diet features mostly plant-based foods, potatoes, whole-grain bread, beans, nuts and seeds, small portions of yogurt, cheese, poultry and eggs. You’ll eat fish and seafood twice a week and limit sweets, red meat and processed meats.
Similar to Atkins®, you’ll avoid refined grains, such as white bread, white pasta and pizza dough with white flour, foods with added sugars such as cookies and crackers plus overly processed foods. While you’re asked to limit red meat, you can get your protein from other lean sources such as poultry, seafood, fish and eggs.
The Mediterranean Diet is touted for heart-healthy qualities, but the Mediterranean Diet typically contains more carbs than Atkins does, which may be a challenge if you have a low tolerance for carbs, even if they do come from low-glycemic, fiber-rich sources such as whole-grain bread,pasta, or beans.
How to do an Atkins-Style Mediterranean Diet
Fill your plate with fiber-rich veggies and consider whole grains, starchy veggies and beans as more of a side or garnish. Balance out your potatoes or bread for cauliflower or low-glycemic beans. Boost your protein with salmon, tuna, poultry and eggs, and cook with flavorful extra-virgin olive oil.
Try this delicious Atkins-Style Mediterranean Diet recipe:
Pesto-Topped Salmon with Caesar Salad
The Pegan Diet: When Paleo Meets Vegan
The Pegan Diet is the Paleo Diet combined with some vegan principles. The majority of each Pegan meal (up to 75%) consists of vegetables, nuts, seeds and some fruits, and the other 25% consists of grass-fed, sustainably-raised meat, poultry and eggs, plus fish and healthy fats. You avoid foods with added sugar, gluten and dairy, and limit gluten-free grains and legumes.
The Pegan Diet is not as restrictive as the Paleo or vegan diets on their own and other than avoiding dairy, is quite similar to a plant-focused Atkins. The challenge is that you could fill your plate with starchy veggies like potatoes, peas and corn or high-glycemic fruits like bananas and apples, which contain more natural sugar.
How to do an Atkins-Style Pegan Diet
Go for fiber-rich Foundation Vegetables and low-glycemic fruits like berries and embrace the healthy fats and protein found in nuts and seeds. Consider your sustainably raised meats, wild-caught fish and pasture-raised eggs as a side dish or condiment. Cook and flavor your meals with coconut oil, grass-fed or vegan butter or olive oil and don’t forget about avocados.
Try this delicious Atkins-style Pegan Diet recipe:
Acorn Squash with Spiced Applesauce and Maple Drizzle
(Swap out the butter in this recipe for grass-fed or vegan butter.)
The Whole 30Ò Diet: Eliminate and Reinstate
The Whole 30 Diet is a 30-day diet based on whole foods and the elimination of sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, soy and dairy. It is similar to the Paleo diet, although you can’t eat natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. You can eat vegetables, fruits, unprocessed meats, seafood, eggs, nuts and seeds, oils and coffee. The idea is that you learn how your body responds to certain foods by eliminating them and then slowly reinstating them. The Whole 30 Diet is low carb and low sugar, but the food choices are more restrictive than Atkins.
How to do an Atkins-Style Whole 30 Diet:
While a low carb diet like Atkins will naturally detox and cleanse your system, there’s nothing wrong with ditching the booze for 30 days, and seeing how you feel without sugar, gluten, soy and dairy. Studies do show that cutting out sugar can help you take control of a raging sweet tooth. After 30 days, you can see how your body reacts as you slowly add these foods back in (minus the sugar). Once again, watch your intake of starchier veggies and balance those out with leafy greens, artichokes, mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower and other Foundation Vegetables. Temper your sweet tooth with low-glycemic berries and a boost of nuts and seeds and get your protein from grass-fed meats, seafood and fish, eggs and heart-healthy oils.
This this delicious Atkins-Style Whole 30 Diet recipe:
Eggs Scrambled with Avocado, Onions and Tomato
While Atkins’ low carb diet is more flexible and sustainable than the Mediterranean Diet, the Pegan Diet and the Whole 30 Diet because you have more food choices, each of these diets do recommend you limit or avoid added sugars, simple carbs and overly processed foods while focusing on fiber-rich foods, which can help control your blood sugar and keep your energy levels at an even keel.